Perhaps not many of you knew that one month from today is National Poinsettia Day: December 12, 2015. We’ll take a brief look at its history shortly. There’s no denying now that we are inching toward the holiday season, and what a beautiful way of introducing us to two close associates to Christmas, “Poinsettias and Pears”, than THASC artist Donna Cushman’s lovely watercolor. What appears to us to be flower petals are actually leaves which often are bright red, but can be pale green (as are Donna’s), white, pink or orange. The colors require darkness (12 hours at a time for 5 or more days in a row) to change color. For the brightest color, the plants require ample light in daytime.
Poinsettias were named for the first ambassador to Mexico and amateur botanist who introduced the plant to the United States, Joel Roberts Poinsett. In 1825 he brought some cuttings to his plantation in Greenwood, South Carolina. When he died in 1851, December 12 was set aside as National Poinsettia Day to honor him and the plant he made famous so people could enjoy this symbol of holiday cheer.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico where they grow wild. The association of this winter flower with Christmas comes from a Mexican legend which began in 16th century on a Christmas Eve. A little girl named Pepita was too poor to present a gift to the Christ child, so her cousin Pedro urged her to get a modest gift. On her way to church she gathered weeds from the roadside. As she placed them in front of the church altar, a miracle took place as the weeds blossomed into bright flowers. They then called them “Flores de Noche Buena” or “Flowers of the Holy Night”. Once considered symbols of purity, today red, white or pink poinsettias, the December birth flower, represent happiness, success and are said to bring enjoyment and celebration.
Donna’s placement of the succulent green d’Anjou pears is a perfect blend to the watercolor as they compliment the pale green poinsettia leaves. Green d’Anjou’s will remain green even when they are fully ripe. Although pears of all types have a popular relationship with the winter holidays, the Comice is popularly known as the “Christmas Pear”. They are among the sweetest and juiciest of all pears and are found in many holiday gift boxes. What a perfect combination for this lovely greeting card, flowers and fruit, don’t you think? In fact it would make an even lovelier holiday card which you can purchase at www.thasc.com
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